Tomorrow’s Inbound Marketing Strategy

Marketing is constantly evolving, but it’s possible to stay ahead of the game. We all know about social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and the importance of quality content. However, an inbound marketing strategy is made up of much more complex pieces that need to be aligned to work. Some people expect a focus on inbound marketing to be the next big thing.

As an SEO writer and creator of marketing materials, I know how tough it can be to evolve with the times. SEOMoz recently revealed the top items to consider when revamping your inbound marketing efforts. Breaking it down into sections makes it easier.

Remember Your Anatomy

Similar to a spine, inbound marketing also has five key pieces including owned and earned media, lead nurturing, sales interaction, landing pages and retention. I’ve been in charge of focusing on each of these concepts, and it’s no easy task. However, if inbound marketing is incorporated into your business plan, you’re halfway there.

It doesn’t matter if you sell a popular part washer or gardening tools. Your web presence creates your reputation. Let’s break these anatomy chunks into digestible portions. Your landing page(s), or pages that links lead to, should have original quality content. Don’t angle to fish for information here because you’ll lose customers.

Two Parts of the Puzzle

A great example of owned and earned media is blog posts. This content is 100% original, informative and engaging to your readers. Make sure you post regularly and only write about things that truly interest your readers. The purpose is to engage and build a loyal following so that your fanbase or customer base expands at a good rate.

Lead nurturing means customizing information and doing it at the right time. It’s great if you have a database of email addresses, but you’ll be automatically deleted if you don’t deliver quality content. If you send a long email during busy work hours, your customers don’t have time to read it. Timing and quality is everything.

Don’t Skimp on These Sections

Sales interaction isn’t just between salespeople and customers. The marketing department needs to have a transparent, solid relationship with the sales team. The marketing department is in charge of creating materials to draw in customers so the sales team can do their job. If there’s a chasm, everyone suffers.

Don’t think that just because a sale is done that the job is over. The retention phase is often the most difficult. I know it can be tiresome to continue to create great content even when you’re very successful. However, customers aren’t as loyal as you think, and they’ll quickly move on if you don’t keep up with them.

New to Personal Branding? 10 Tips You Have To Know

Success in the professional world isn’t always about where you’ve worked or what school you went to. There are millions of people out there with experience, education and skills. The way to truly succeed is to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd. You can do this through personal branding.


Create a name for yourself and reserve your spot in your industry by creating your brand now. Here are 10 tips you need to know to be successful in personal branding.


  1. Know Who You Are

Knowing who you are is about more than your name and your background. Who you are is the identity you want to build for yourself. It’s the idea you want people to have in their heads when they hear your name. Are you a witty fashion expert or a stern business owner? You need to know what you want people to see you as so you can maintain a clear voice to your audience.


  1. Have an End in Mind

Don’t go into this blindly. When you begin building your brand, you need to know what you want to get out of it. Do you want your brand to attract potential buyers of your product? Do you want to create a name for yourself in your field and be a trusted source for information? Do you want to be well known in your city, your state or do you want international fame? No matter how big or small your goal, you need to know what you’re working towards.



  1. Be a Creator

You can get by with posting interesting content you discover, sure. But to really get your name out there, you need to be the person behind the content. Write articles, write guest blog posts or even start your own blog! Get your ideas out there and show you have fresh knowledge about the trends surrounding your industry. This is what will make your brand a reputable source for information.



  1. Be Consistent

When you figure out who you are, stick to it. Remember, everything you do should reflect what you want your brand to be. You need consistent helpful content your audience can count on time and time again. You need to be consistently you and consistently active. Don’t go a month or even a week without activity or you may lose your audience’s interest and trust.


  1. Get Personal

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Part of creating your brand is tying your personality and your life into it. Provide people with a story about how you got into the business. People will feel more connected with you and be more likely to remember who you are. Never underestimate humor! People want to see a human being, not a robot.


  1. Have a Schedule

You need a day-to-day schedule to keep you completely on top of your game. You need to know how many blog posts you want to post in a month, how many tweets need to be posted a week, how many Facebook posts a day, etc. You need to create a plan and stick to it. If you go in without any organization, you’re likely to slack off and not be effective.


  1. Be Supportive

Building your brand is about more than just you. You need to network yourself with other players in your industry. Your support for them links you to them. Having a network of established experts in your field helps your credibility and exposure. If you’re a medical office specialist, build your network with nurses, doctors, and other medical staff. Linking up with others in the game is a win-win situation for everyone involved.


  1. Get Social

Social networking is an absolute must in today’s world. If you’re not already a social butterfly, you need to get it together ASAP. Facebook and Twitter are necessities. You should also consider LinkedIn and any other social sites relating to your industry. Activity on forums in your industry can be beneficial as well. Set up your own blog and get social!


  1. Adjust Your Voice

When your brand goes social, different platforms require different tones. Your tweets will obviously differ from your Facebook posts. Decide what you want each platform to be used for and then go for it. Maybe you want your Twitter feed to be used for interesting facts about your industry, while your Facebook page could tie in your professional life with a personal touch. Maybe you want to follow news and trends with your blog. Whatever it is, assign each platform a use and stick with it.


  1. Watch What you Say

Remember, when you take personal branding online, everything you say and do can be saved online forever. It’s really important you always portray the positive image of your brand you want others to remember. Any tacky posts can ruin your reputation and brand you in the wrong way.


Food for Thought: Why People Instagram Their Meals

I’m already drooling.

Social media has made it possible to let everyone know what their friends and relatives are doing, reading and listening to. But it’s also had some strange consequences, including everyone seeing Instagram photos of what the people they know are eating.

No one knows how this trend started, but everyone seems to have strong feelings about it, as this open letter to Instagram users shows. However, it might be worth thinking about why the trend started. Why do people take pictures of their food and post them? Better yet, why do they think anyone wants to see them? No one knows for sure, but today’s culture may provide some clues.


Our Obsession with Food

You don’t have to know much to know that Americans love food. There are at least four food channels on TV. Chefs become celebrities overnight. Then there’s what many people see in the mirror. Instagram food photos are simply an extension of this food obsession.

Many people like to take photos of a good meal or pretty food presentation, either for themselves or their foodie friends. However, some photos have an additional function. Many people find that keeping a food journal helps them lose weight, and a visual diary is more effective than a written one. In a society ruled by food and social media, sharing photos of food is a logical next step.

A Permanent Record

Photos are a way to remember important milestones in our lives, from that week in Paris to a friend’s wedding. Every now and then, a meal can make that same impression, and a photo says much more than a written description ever could.

Some people want to remember that fantastic filet mignon from their anniversary dinner, while others love to photograph the wedding cake before the bride and groom but it. Still others like to take photos of the meals they prepare from scratch, especially the ones they’re trying out for the first time. In these instances, the photo isn’t about remembering the meal; it’s about remembering the circumstances surrounding the meal.


Even the least artistic people like to express themselves.  Shots like that are hard to capture, but a perfectly still food photo is much easier.

Not everyone is trying to take that classic photo, though; some people share their photos just to share. Have you ever talked to a friend about something that happened at work or home? It wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was a way to make conversation. A photo of that jumbo-size hamburger you ate for lunch is another way to share the day’s events with your friends and family.

Some people know why they photograph their food, and the reasons are varied and many. I suspect that most people photograph their meals for the same reason they watch a TV show or read a magazine – because it’s there.

Do a Color Run Bucket List

Do a Color Run – Bucket List #8 Athletics

Do a Color Run Bucket List

So I may have cheated a little bit.  I put it on my bucket list to participate in this year’s Color Run, but how did I cheat?  I had already done one!! But not to cut any corners, I made sure I did 2 Color Runs this year. Count em’… TWO!   Where at you may ask?  The great city of Philadelphia and the lovely southern (sorta) metropolis of Richmond.

I had such a blast on my first Color Run, I couldn’t resist signing up for the second.  I mean what’s not to love?! I get to run, and anyone who knows me is aware of a little addiction I have. I just can’t stop running! But everyone once and awhile, I need a change up.  And the best thing for that? Happy people throwing bucket loads of paint on me while I run. Oh yea, and don’t forget intense dance parties before and after!  Seriously. Their advertising is no hoax.  The Color run really is the Happiest 5k on the Planet.

Anyways, so here are my takeaways from both of my experiences…just so you can walk the walk with me!

1. White is Right. Wait! Wait! You can’t say that!?

Ok this should go without saying. but maybe its ok to conform just this once!!! You should probably wear all white!! How else is everyone going to know how much fun you had if they can’t tell that you got painted like a canvas! In this case, you can continue to boast that you are the 99%. Everyone who’s everyone is wearing white, and if you don’t you’ll regret it!

All White Color Run

Philly’s tally? 23,000. Richmond? Who knows. But it starts with a sea of white.


2.  You’re Going to Need Some Wings

Or maybe if you like a little excitement for your run, it never hurts to accept a little bit of free Red Bull and to go carrying on and making a ruckus.  Alright, I admit…the race did start at 8 AM, and we didn’t JUST drink Red Bull.  But definitely still recommend strictly drinking Red Bull, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE NOT 21 people!

Chelsea Color Run

Red Bull Running Craze

color run party

Too Much Wing!


Mama Kitty and I


I can Kick, Stretch, and Kick!


I’m 50!

3.  Always Go Back for Seconds

Running a 5k may be a little taxing for everyone who hates running. Which not ironically, is typically everyone.  But I promise you, that it make take a little extra effort, but running back to previous stops is totally worth it! You get double the paint, double the fun,  double the workout, and double the color! Chances are, if you’re not trying to set a record pace, by the time you get around to passing the previous color stations, they are shutting down…but yet still have buckets of paint left!  Don’t let it go to waste! That paint was meant to be thrown on you!  Go over and get crazy and ask for more. The volunteers love it!! In fact…they may even support you starting a dance party!! We started with just 5 of us dancing, and 2 volunteers throwing paint on us.  That shortly turned into a group of about 50 people and 10 volunteers going crazy with the paint!

color run blue station



Song Choice: I Can’t Stop

Me in the Dance Party

A couple more people joined 😛

4.  Finish the Race. And then be ready to Dance!

Just because you’ve finished the race, doesn’t mean you’re done!  Run right on through and follow the music to the DJ!  There’s a huge dance party after the end of the race (besides the one you create at the leftovers station!) and you DON’T want to miss it!! Did the run fall short of expectations?  If you wanted paint to rain done on you like a waterfall…then the dance party is the place to be!!  Here they time paint throws so everyones combined effort can make the sky turn to a rainbow!  If you don’t believe me…just check out these pictures!

So Many Colors

color run paint party

Hands in the Color Run

Afterwards, you’ll come out looking like this!!

Katy and I at the Color Run


5.  Do it with People Who Are Ready to  Let Loose

Finally, I just want to say, this event would be only average fun if you did it with average people.  But I think that’s how pretty much anything is.  Surround yourself with fun people who are always ready to let loose and you’ll have an amazing time!  I’ve found some of the greatest people I’ll ever meet, and I’m going to make sure I keep doing more with them every day.  Don’t shy away from the crazy people…embrace them!!

Katy Wes and I Color Run




Team Kitties Richmond Color Run

Team Kitties!



6.  Rest, Rinse, Repeat

After it’s all said and done, you’ll be tired. And I mean tired!!! So take a nice rest, then rinse. Rinse maybe another couple of times. Ok. And another 5 times. What you still have what looks like eye liner, and paint in your ears? That’s permanent. But totally worth it!  And then get online and sign up for your next one! DO IT NOW!

Chelsea and I Are Beat

Have similar experiences? Share them in the comments please! I’d love to hear about it!!

New YouTube Ranking System

YouTube-Vimeo Reversion
YouTube is taking a stand against videos that scam into popularity. For years, the site has depended on popularity rankings that consider how many clicks a video gets. This made it easy for people to boost a video’s popularity by repeatedly clicking on it without watching it. However, that free for all came to a clear halt in mid-October.

The new YouTube algorithm ranks a video’s popularity based on the length of time viewers spend on the video. According to CNET, this increases fairness in the rankings. Changes have also been made to YouTube analytics so that video creators can see just how long people are spending watching their videos. Of course, this raises some big questions.

Quantity, Not Quality

If you type in keywords like “flex banner,” or “Movement Marketing” into YouTube you’ll get a slew of results. Some of these videos might be an hour long, while others are less than two minutes. Of course, in order to get a viewer to watch the entire video, it needs to be high quality (or insanely entertaining). Some critics are wondering how a short video can compete against a long one.

YouTube has thought of that. The real way the system works is by percentage of the video watched. For example, 98 percent of a one minute video is equal to 98 percent of a 45-minute video. The purpose is to lower rankings of videos that are almost instantly clicked off.

The Scramble to the Top

YouTube’s new ranking system is brand new and so far there hasn’t been a way around it. The benefits of the new system are created both for the viewers and for Google (the company behind YouTube). Google no longer has to pay for scammed-up poor videos, and viewers are encouraged to make the most of their time.

If you’re a YouTube fan, you’ll no longer have to dig through pages of fluff to find the best videos. The new ranking system will have them right at the top. More efficient use of your time is finally here and you’re a part of it. Many YouTube fans say it’s about time.


The Victims in the Change

There are plenty of useless videos on YouTube that were shot to the top needlessly. However, there are bound to be a few YouTube video creators who will suffer. Some videos, like cooking tutorials, are naturally not always watched completely. If you provide tips and someone only needs to see a portion of your video, you’ll be booted to the bottom of YouTube.

There is often at least one loser when a massive change is made. The pros of the ranking system far outweighs the cons. Users are overall very happy with the change and confident of YouTube’s future.

Teaching People to Break the Rules: Why Creativity Classes Make Sense

Creative people are always coming up with these weird ideas that no one else has ever tried. Because their unorthodox ideas are often successful, that’s why you should learn to think outside the box.

When we think of creative people, we tend to think of actors and singers with a penchant for bad behavior. However, creativity is what propels society forward; without it, we’d still be rubbing two sticks together to heat our food. Whether you want to further your career or change your life, creativity classes are the key to success.

Who Needs Creativity, Anyway?

The answer is simple: EVERYONE needs it. Creativity is the act of coming up with a new idea, not just in art and music. Pizza, the printing press, the Constitution and the Internet all came from the creative process, meaning you wouldn’t be reading this article now if someone hadn’t thought of a way to deliver it to you.

Creativity also does a lot to dispel the notion of the “starving artist.” New research shows that the most creative cities are economically stronger than other cities. In short, a creativity class might seem like a fun indulgence, but it can actually make you and your community more productive and successful.

What Happens in Creativity Classes?

Creativity classes vary depending on the course objective and who’s teaching it. For example, an art workshop won’t be run the same way as a management course for an online college degree in business. But many will use the same types of exercises and methodologies, including:

Free Thinking:  In these sessions, you write or draw whatever you want on a blank piece of paper. Maybe you get a suggestion; maybe you don’t.  Otherwise, no one tells you what to do or how; you just keep going until time is up. This exercise keeps your hands occupied while it relaxes your mind, which can ironically spark great ideas.

Random Objects:  MacGyver could create bombs or keys just by using whatever objects were available. This exercise works the same way in that you’re given 3-4 random objects and have to make something out of them. It could be a new toy or a solution to an existing problem. Either way, you learn to make the most of what you have.

Pretend:  Did you pretend to be a princess or a cowboy when you were a kid? If you take a creativity class, get ready to do it again. For instance, you might become one of your characters in a writing class, or an employee or customer in a management class. By learning to think like someone else, you learn how best to work with them.

Creativity makes the world go round, and yet too many people have abandoned their creative impulses. Get them going again; sign up for a creativity class today and start living and working more successfully.

Take Advantage of the Right Niche like a Marketing Professional

Beginners and veterans in Internet marketing make niche research much harder than necessary. It doesn’t have to be difficult at all. Many marketers are stuck looking at numbers, trying to evaluate different keyword phrases and looking for that magic product or niche. This won’t help you, and there is a better way to create power generation when it comes to your niche research.

How to Find the Right Niche for your Needs

Your first step is to find a challenge that a group of people have. Your second step is to provide them with a solution to that challenge. This may seem difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. If you spend time in forums, on message boards, reading questions and looking at the answers to those questions, you will find a niche you can use to make money.

For example, if you are a member of an Internet marketing forum, and you keep seeing members asking about how they can use Facebook to make money, this could be your niche. For instance, you could create a downloadable guide that you can promote to this market. If a few people are asking the same question, chances are many people are asking it too.

The most time-consuming part of the process is identifying your audience and their need. Doing it, however, is better than not doing your homework at all. It’s much better than trying to guess and ultimately failing. Many niches may surprise you and can be very obscure or seem odd. You wouldn’t think someone could make a large income in a targeted niche, such as Caterpillar heavy equipment, but it’s possible.

What to do Once you Find a Need

Once you figure out what a group of people need, just match your solution to them. The best examples of this are found in the health niche. If you struggle with your energy level, want to lose weight, hear ringing in your ears or have another health issues, there’s probably a guide that will introduce you to natural remedies for your issue.

This works in any niche no matter how broad or targeted. Of course, the more targeted your niche is, the less competition you will usually encounter. This doesn’t mean you cannot enter into a larger niche and make money, as well. Sometimes you can enter a larger niche and target a small group within that niche.

Another way to make money within a larger niche is to find a new way to approach it. We see this in the weight loss niche all the time with the many fad diets. Some of the programs actually stick and they last much longer, but others will have a lifespan that’s much shorter. The key is to deliver a quality solution to a problem or challenge a group of people face. If you do this, you can easily make money from any niche.

Page Rankings Taking a Blow? Maybe You Need to Move your Content

What if you created a site all about farm equipment, something happened and Google penalized it? Or maybe you just decided you wanted to move it to another domain? Is this safe? What will happen to any existing ranking? Will Google penalize you for moving the content? With all the Google updates, many webmasters are facing this decision because of bad linking strategies, DMCA penalties and other issues.

If you are facing issues that have caused your website to drop in rankings, and you know it’s not a content issue, moving your content might help. This could give you a fresh start without wasting the content you already have on the site.

Before you move your content from one site to another, you need to understand what to expect.

How Each Situation Will Differ

1.  Bad Linking

If you were penalized by Google because of bad links —links that used to work for ranking before the update — and you cannot get them all removed, moving your content to a new domain name might help.

You can buy an aged domain or register a new domain to get a completely new start. You’ll eliminate the bad links because the new domain name won’t have any backlinks built.

You can expect this type of strategy to work well, but it will take a little time for Google to de-index the content from the original site and recognize it on the new site. Make sure you download all of the content and save it, delete if from the original site, and then schedule it all to go live on your new site over time.

2.  DMCA Issues

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects website content from being stolen and used without authorization. If your site was penalized due to a DMCA issue, you may need to consider fixing your content before you move it. It may not be necessary to move the content if you can figure out which part is causing the penalty.

Find the original filer of the notice and see if you can get a copy of the complaint. This will lead you to the actual content that has been used from their site on yours and you can fix the issue. If the issues cannot be fixed, but you know it’s only a few pages or posts, you can move the rest of the content to a new site and gain ranking once again.

3.  Changing Domain Name

Another common reason to move all the content from one site to another is if you decide to move from an “exact match domain” to a domain that can be branded. For example, if you have a site about heavy equipment called and you want to move all the content to a site that uses the domain name, you can do so.

This isn’t a big deal and can be done quite easily. You will need to make sure you delete the content from your original site and you don’t just move it all at once. Schedule it over time to go live, so that it doesn’t look unnatural.

Top 6 Reasons Why Your Site is Underperforming on Google

Google offers everything

Search engine optimization is a complicated beast, especially with Google’s tweaking and updating of its algorithm. If your site isn’t appearing as highly as you would like in Google’s search results, you may have fallen victim of one of these common problems.


1. You have been caught using black hat techniques


There are certain tricks of the trade that Google frowns upon, and if you have been caught using these techniques then you can have your site penalized or even removed from Google results completely. While it can be tempting to use keyword stuffing and linkspamming for a temporary boost in your rankings you will almost certainly be found out sooner or later.


2. You missed Panda


If you found that the Panda update destroyed your rankings, you may have instituted some changes to your site and its content to repair your standing. The next day you search on Google but your site still hasn’t recovered! This is very common and is simply down to the fact that Panda is not an ‘always-on’ update – instead it runs every few weeks. You might just have to be patient.


3. Users don’t like your content


When users visit your website from Google and then immediately hit the back button that is taken into consideration for your ranking. It’s important to always provide useful information that those searching for a particular keyword would be interested in. There is no point targeting the keyword ‘investment in oil’ on a page that talks about olive oil in cooking! You may get visitors but they will quickly realize that your site is not what they are looking for.


4. You have neglected the fundamentals


Are your pages loading quickly? Have you designed a logical architecture for your site? Does each page have relevant text in the URL? Have you included the right metadata? These SEO techniques are absolute fundamentals, and if you have redesigned a site or added in new content without keeping them up to date you could be suffering in your Google rankings.


5. You don’t update enough


Your content may be good and relevant, but if you have not updated it in a few years, then that is going to harm your Google rankings. Consider giving your site a spring clean and updating your content so that it is fresh and regularly renewed.


6. Your keywords have high competition

Certain keywords are just more difficult to rank highly for than others due to increased competition from large well-established sites. If you can’t increase your SEO activities you might want to consider reoptimizing your pages to focus on less-competitive keywords in the same niche.

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